The world seems to be paying attention to system and institutional inequality in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, after George Floyd was brutally murdered. However, despite issuing a statement condemning his killing and police brutality, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa remains mum on the war waged on black bodies in South Africa.
Many have raised that there is a false sense of equal hardship, between the country’s populations. It is clear however, that those most affected by Covid-19 are black people. According to the New York Times , “Ten percent of all South Africans — the majority white — owns more than 90 percent of national wealth… Some 80 percent of the population — overwhelmingly black — owns nothing at all.”
This reality compounded by the fact that when we speak about poverty, the imagery is immediately of Black people living in squatter camps and inhumane conditions. The same can’t be said for imagery that comes up when someone says “poor white people”. Not in South Africa.
7.1 million South Africans without jobs – Stats SA
Ownership of resources, corporate institutions and agriculture is all concentrated to a specific group of people, white people, a minority in South Africa. So when will the black people of South Africa get their share now that every inequality is aggravated by Coronavirus. As we speak, the unemployment rate stands at a staggering 30%.
The relationship between discrimination and poverty is evident and unforgiving, it is now made worse by a pandemic. But to make it clear, it is not Coronavirus that determined that Black people must be restricted access to employment, education, economic opportunities and fundamental living in general – it is white supremacy.